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Title

Economy: Batik

Author

Walker Art Center

Date

2003

Institution Walker Art Center
The brightly colored so-called African textile covering the figures in Dysfunctional Family is Dutch wax. Batik fabric was first produced in Indonesia and later made in the Netherlands and Great Britain and exported to Africa. There it became an affirming political statement about African identity. The cloth was manufactured, however, in countries against which Africa would eventually have to fight to gain independence. In addition, the designs were inspired by the art of Indonesia, another country dominated by the same colonizing influences.

"The story of the fabric I use is so interesting. It is Indonesian influenced. It was manufactured in Holland and then in Manchester and shipped to West Africa. Then, after independence, it was adopted as African cloth. But as you can see from the history, its identity is a construct. The fabric is not one thing. . . . I am interested in those kinds of influences which make up so-called identity."
--Yinka Shonibare

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Type: Commentary, online content
Source: Economy: Batik, from the website Global Positioning: Exploring Contemporary World Art, 2003.
Rights: Copyright 2003 Walker Art Center
Added to Site: March 1, 2009